Gluten Free Vegan Taco Pie

I saw an idea for a Taco Pie floating around the internet. I LOVE tacos, so I just knew I wanted to take this idea and make it healthy. I basically just used my usual taco filling, whipped up an enchilada sauce to mix in, then topped it with a cornbread topping for a “crust” and it turned out amazing! I used a 13×9 inch casserole dish the first time I made it. I thought we would have way too much and I would end up throwing most of it away because we would never eat it all before it went bad. I was wrong. We had barely enough leftover. My point? This is GOOD. And it’s EASY.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

Taco Filling

3 green peppers, diced

5 roma tomatoes, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 cup brown rice

2 cups vegetable broth

Enchilada Sauce:

8 oz can of tomato sauce

1 1/5 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 cups water

2 tbsp tapioca flour

Cornbread Topping:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup gluten free baking flour

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like this milk)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

  1. Cook 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of vegetable broth. I generally cook my rice in a crock pot ahead of time, that way it’s cooked and ready when I need it.
  2. To make the taco filling, dice the peppers, tomatoes, and onion and saute in a large skillet. Add the rice and 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Then sprinkle on the taco seasoning. Mix well.
  3. To make the enchilada sauce, mix everything in a sauce pan except the water and tapioca flour. Once it comes to a bubble, add in the water and tapioca flour and bring it to a bubble again. Once it is bubbly, mix it into the taco filling.
  4. To make the corn bread topping, mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour taco mixture into a casserole dish and top with the cornbread mixture.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Butternut Squash Apple Burger

You know what is awesome about eating plant based? All the endless possibilities of food you get to eat! I eat more of a variety now than I ever did while eating animal foods. Just take the burger, for example. I mean, sure you could top a meat burger with different things. But stripped down, a burger is a burger is a burger when you are eating one made from a cow.

But VEGGIE burgers?! You can make them so many different ways, and in doing so, you get an abundance (and variety!) of nutrition all while still enjoying what has become a staple food, at least in America it has.

Recently I saw an idea to use butternut squash and apple to make a burger. I was intrigued! My first attempt, though it tasted amazing, was kind of a fail, because it was more like a sloppy joe than a burger. I guess that’s ok, if a sloppy joe is what you’re after, but I wanted something that stayed together and had the consistency of a traditional burger.

I find that this burger is a bit softer than all-meat burgers or veggie burgers but with the recipe below it will stay together and not crumble out of the bun (like a sloppy joe). And the taste is incredible!

What I love about eating veggie burgers is that with every ingredient there is nutritive value to it. It is working for you. With meat burgers, there really is no nutritive value to them (and could even be doing the body harm – working against you. Just read The China Study if you want more information about the damaging effects of animal protein.).

Yes, animal protein is a “complete protein”, however, that just means more work for your body! Since these amino acids are already built up into a complex array of complete protein strains, your body needs to break it all down into separate amino acids before utilizing them. This significantly slows down digestion, and forces your body to work harder on breaking down protein than it should have to. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and romaine lettuce, for example, are rich in ready to use and easily absorbed amino acids. When you fuel yourself on foods that are easier to digest, your body can direct more energy into healing and repairing your body.

So what good is there in butternut squash? Why did I want to give that a try?? Butternut squash has 500mg of potassium per 1 cup serving. That potassium can help prevent high blood pressure. And with 7 grams of fiber per serving you are sure to stay regular. And did you know that 1 serving of squash has over 350% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A? Talk about good for your eyesight! Butternut squash has 17% of your RDA in manganese which helps maintain a healthy bone structure and assists the body in absorbing more calcium. The vitamin C in squash takes part in the production of collagen which is also important for building bone mass. (Other minerals found in squash, such as iron, folate, and zinc, all contribute to bone health and protect against osteoporosis.) Vitamin C also boosts immune function. And because of the antioxidant content in squash, it may even reduce inflammation. Inflammation leads to disease and ageing, so reducing inflammation is a big deal. You don’t need me to tell you that animal proteins cause inflammation. See what I mean, these veggie burgers can work for you, not against you.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to make your meals out of plants! With this dish pictured, I topped our burgers with homemade ketchup, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and caramelized onions and served it along side some oven roasted asparagus. A simple and delicious meal!

You can find the recipe for the buns here.

Burgers:

2 cups brown rice, cooked

3 cups diced butternut squash

2 cups granny smith apples

Himalayan sea salt & pepper, to taste

2 tbsp dried thyme

1/4 cup brown rice flour (alternatively you could use gluten free bread crumbs)

  1. Slice, peel and dice butternut squash and roast in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes on a baking sheet.
  2. While squash is roasting, dice apples. After the squash has roasted for 15 minutes, add the diced apples to the baking sheet and roast another 30 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool. Once cool, place squash and apples in a food processor and pulse it a few times. Then add the cooked rice. I generally cook my rice ahead of time in a crock pot so it’s ready when I need it. Pulse a few more times.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Shape into patties and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side either in a large skillet or on a griddle.

Roasted Asparagus:

1 bunch asparagus spears

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place asparagus in a mixing bowl and toss the spears with remaining ingredients.
  3. Place on baking sheet and and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until tender.

How to Make a Chia Egg

Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet that are loaded with nutrients that can benefit your body and your brain. A massive amount of nutrients with very few calories. Chia seeds have fiber, beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and a fair amount of B complex vitamins. But they don’t just deliver on just vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants help the fight against ageing and even some cancers.

Chia seeds are also a complete protein.

Because of the nutrients found in chia seeds they have been shown to help control appetite, improve memory and mood, control sugar cravings, improve skin, hair & nail health, lower cholesterol, and normalize blood pressure.

You can see that chia seeds are a powerhouse! All you have to do is sprinkle them in your diet. Throw some in a smoothie, oatmeal, granola, or your salad. Or like I like to do, replace eggs in a recipe with chia seeds. You get the binding action you are looking for all with the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds. (And no, it doesn’t compromise the taste. In fact, I never taste the chia seeds regardless of how I use them)

For 1 egg:

1 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp water

  1. Mix chia and water in a small dish and wait a moment. It will turn gelatinous.
  2. Use this mixture in place of an egg in your baked goods.

** For 2 eggs, just double it. For 3 eggs, triple it. **

Migraine Relief

Studies have been showing that just sniffing green apples can reduce the severity of a migraine.

Ginger contains more than 200 substances in its oils (which is why there are so many uses for ginger). One of those uses is that ginger may block prostiglandins which control inflammation, have an impact some hormones, and stimulate muscle contractions. This is why it is thought that ginger can reduce or stop migraines, by blocking the action of prostiglandins.

I don’t get headaches or migraines very often, but when I do, I head straight for the green apple and ginger. I juice both the apple and ginger together and drink that.

In addition to the juice, I also apply essential oils. I like to help my body do it’s job. Substances found in nature and from plants can help assist the body to do what it knows how to do. So I refer to nature, then step “out of the way” and let nature take its course. It’s also crucial to rest when you have a migraine. Go to a cool, dark, quiet place, after taking this protocol, and let the body deal with the headache and what is causing it.

PROTOCOL

Juice: 1 green apple and 1 inch ginger root

Apply: 2 drops of Frankincense, 2 drops of Lavender, 2 drops of Peppermint on the crown of your head

Apply: 2-3 drops of peppermint on the bottom of both feet

Why those essential oils?

Frankincense – can help body deal with inflammation

Lavender – has a calming effect and also helps body deal with inflammation

Peppermint – helps body deal with pain and inflammation

Super Smoothie

This is one of my favorites. With all the greens, you wouldn’t think it is very sweet, but it is!

Juicing is an easy way to get all your greens in daily. But with juicing, you take the fiber away. This is good in that you are putting those nutrients on a fast track to your blood stream so they can get to work right away. But everyone needs fiber to flush the system from the toxins. So this juice and smoothie combo is the best of both worlds. By taking the juice and blending it with avocado and banana you create a fiber-rich drink that is also smooth and creamy. Plus, thanks to the avocado, you are getting healthy fats, as well.

This juice is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and iron.

The nutrients in this smoothie have the power to cleanse the intestines, boost your immune system, reduce your blood pressure, and rebuild your red blood cells.

And I promise you that it tastes so good you’ll suck it down so fast you’ll wish you made more….so maybe make it a double! 😉

First juice:

1/4 pineapple

2 celery stalk

1 inch cucumber (or zucchini)

1 cup spinach

1 cup dinosaur kale

1 whole swiss chard leaf (stem and all)

1 green apple

Then blend:

Juice (from above)

1/2 avocado

1/2 banana

1/2 cup pure aloe (I scoop mine right out of the aloe leaf)

  1. Juice pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, chard, and apple.
  2. Put juice in a blender and blend it with avocado, aloe, and banana.

** Optional…occasionally when I am feeling rather hungry I’ll add a 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 3 tbsp of ground flax to the blender.

 

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Another tasty pancake option!

1 chia egg **

1/2 cup plain coconut milk yogurt

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used Oat Milk)

1 1/4 cup gluten free baking flour

1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 large honey crisp apple, peeled, cored and minced (I used my food processor for this. Alternatively, you could also grate it using a grater. I don’t recommend applesauce, it’s too runny)

  1. Heat a griddle to medium high.
  2. To a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and mix well, until there are no lumps.
  4. Fold in the minced/grated apple.
  5. Ladle onto the hot griddle and cook each side for about 5 minutes each side, until golden brown. I have found that letting the batter sit for about 5 minutes before ladling into the griddle helps the batter “settle” and it doesn’t spread so thin.

**To make a chia egg use 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 3 tbsp of water. Mix together and let sit for a moment, it will turn gelatinous.

Vegan Lasagna

When you don’t eat dairy, or even if you are trying to reduce your intake of animal protein, that leaves you with a LOT of Italian meals that you can no longer eat. At least not as we have become accustomed to them being prepared.  LOADED with cheese.

I have tried my hand at lasagna subbing the cheese with tofu. Which actually tastes really good. You wouldn’t even realize the cheese was missing if you didn’t know any better. Problem is, I am not convinced that even eating organic non-GMO tofu is good for you. The jury is still out on that one. So until I know for sure, I decided to steer clear of soy products as well.

No cheese. No tofu. Where does that leave you when it comes to lasagna?? Pretty much fat, flat noodles with sauce. Might as well eat spaghetti. Then an idea popped in my head. Why not try mashed potatoes?! As long as you season your sauce appropriately so you have all the flavor you’d expect from lasagna, using potatoes is a winning alternative!

Before you get nervous about all that starch, just read this article here.  Dr John McDougall makes a case for starches NOT being the enemy. That isn’t to say I load up my plate with starch at every meal. But when it comes to wanting to make a meal like this lasagna once in a while, I really don’t fret about it. Because most of the time my plate is filled with plant foods of ALL colors.

So on to the recipe!

Marinara Sauce:

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

2 28oz cans of organic crushed tomatoes

  1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat add onion, carrot and celery and saute until soft. About 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Lasagna:

Lasagna sheets, boiled until al dente (the amount you need will vary depending on the size of the casserole dish you are using), drained

Marinara Sauce

Potatoes, peeled/boiled/mashed

Fresh Basil, chopped.

  1. Spoon some sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish.
  2. In a flat layer, layer sheets of lasagna.
  3. Then layer mashed potatoes. Then more sauce. Keep layering until you reach the top of your casserole dish. I always sprinkle fresh basil with each layer. Finish with a little more sauce and a little more chopped basil when you get to the top.
  4. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Notes:

Even with traditional lasagna, it always tastes better the next day. So at the very least, if you plan this for dinner, maybe make it in the morning if not the day before. That way everything has a chance to “set.”

 

Birthday Cake Donuts with Chocolate Frosting

I have no words. Good doesn’t even describe it. Neither does delicious, amazing or awesome.

All I can say is MAKE THESE. You won’t regret it. They taste like bad-for-you donuts with bad-for-you frosting…but they AREN’T.

Frosting:

2 avocado, peeled and pitted

1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and whip with a hand mixer until creamy.
  2. This can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days IF you have any left over after frosting your donuts.

Birthday Cake Donuts:

2 cups gluten free flour

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

3/4 cup vegan buttermilk (3/4 cup cashew milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar) * you could also use almond milk if you prefer

2 chia eggs **

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegan butter

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and grease a donut pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, chia eggs, vanilla and butter.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  5. Spoon batter into donut pan and bake for 7-9 minutes, until donuts are set.
  6. After 5 minutes, remove donuts from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Once completely cooled you can frost them.

** To make 2 chia eggs: mix 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 6 tbsp water and let sit for a minute until it turns gelatinous.

Quinoa and Rice “Meatballs” and Gravy

I have another recipe for “meatballs” that are super delicious. They pair really well with a pasta dish given the ingredients/seasonings used to make them. For this recipe I wanted something a little more mild flavored because I didn’t want to have it compete with the gravy I was going to top them with. They are still really full of flavor, though. Just a different flavor. I like variety! 🙂

I added pureed cauliflower to the mix, too. I was nervous about that, because to be honest, I really don’t enjoy cauliflower. I’m trying to train my taste-buds to like it, though, since cauliflower is so good for you. Good news, for me, is that you can’t really taste the cauliflower in it. So I got the benefit without the taste. Whew!

You are going to want to make your quinoa and rice ahead of time. I put them both in a crock pot together with some veggie broth and sea salt and let them cook, that way it’s ready when I need it.

MEATBALLS:

3/4 cups each of quinoa and brown rice

garlic powder, to taste

onion powder, to taste

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

2 cups vegetable broth

  1. Add the above ingredients to a crock pot to have it ready when you need it.

1 head of cauliflower florets

3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs or almond flour

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

  1. Boil the cauliflower florets until fork tender, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. To a food processor, add the quinoa/rice blend and the cooked, drained cauliflower and pulse until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Roll into balls the size you prefer and cook on a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Gently turn the balls a few times to brown on all sides. They’re tender, so be careful.

GRAVY:

2 1/4 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp coconut aminos

1/4 cup brown rice flour

sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk on medium high heat. Cook, while stirring occasionally, until smooth and thick.